Monday, March 29, 2010

To seal or not to seal. On a patio that is.

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Q. -  Hello... I emailed earlier about your slate concrete stain and if you had an example of the finished product.  I think your site is great and we are very interested and I think you explained it best... we really feel that we can do this ourselves after reading all of this.  Another question that I have is about the concrete sealer.  Do you think it would still be slippery with "brushed" concrete?  It is on a patio an we recently put a roof and half walls around it (in OH). We like the idea of bringing out the color but do not want a slippery patio.  Thanks
Hello Thomas,
A. -  That's kind of a trick question. Any time you put sealer on concrete it can and usually will be more slippery than if left unsealed. The solvent base sealer and most sealers that matter would definitely be more slippery.
   The new advanced formula water base sealer is applied in two, as thin as possible and even as possible coats. So if the concrete is brushed well and you apply it in two thin coats, then theoretically it will not be more slippery. However, if the concrete is not brushed well and/or you apply it in heavy coats rather than thin coats, it could be more slippery.
   Of course the new water base sealer is designed to be less slippery, and you do apply it in thin coats, and your concrete is brushed, so it seems that you would be just fine with the water base sealer. Yet at the same time I do not want to get you or me in trouble.
   So, that being said, you can stain it first and then decide if you want to seal it. If you like the way it looks without sealer then you're good. If you like the way it looks when it is damp with water better, then you would like the sealed with the water base sealer better.
   Of course you could do a small sample test area with the sealer to see if it is more slippery or not, and then decide if you should seal or not. If you decide to seal it you can go ahead at that time, and if not then you can easily strip the sealer off the test area.

Is concrete stain compatible with radiant floor heat?

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Q. -  Is concrete camouflage application compatible with in floor radiant heat?  (water in tubes in concrete)  I'm concerned that the heat could impact or change the color after its applied. Also, want to make sure the heat doesn't cause the stain to emit an odor or affect the sealer finish.
Thanks. MJ

Hello MJ,

   Yes. Concrete Camouflage products are compatible with in floor radiant heat. There should be no issues at all. There are many floors with in floor radiant heat, all across America and beyond, that are stained, sealed and waxed with the Concrete Camouflage family of products.
   We do recommend that you not only use the artist grade of concrete stain and seal the floor, but also that you wax it with our Top Shield mop on floor wax.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What should I do about cracks in the concrete?

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Q. - My driveway has a lot of cracks in it. I desperately want to improve the look of it. Is there any way to fill in the cracks so they don't stick out like a sore thumb if I stain it? Surely the professionals use something to fill in cracks before concrete staining. I appreciate your comments!!

Hello Lillian,

A. - If they are hairline cracks then you should leave them alone as they will actually add character to the drive once it is stained. They may look bad on plain concrete but they tend to look cool on stained concrete, giving it more of a real stone kind of look. Anyway, if you do patch them the patch material will likely stain a different color than the rest of the concrete and tend to stand out more, like a sore thumb.
If they are not hairline, but rather large cracks which you can put a coin into or bigger, then there are ways to patch and stain them though it is a process.

You can use a concrete patch material or concrete resurfacing material. Or you can mix portland and sand together along with some water and a small amount of bonding agent.
You would purchase a small amount of every one of the different patching materials available at your local home improvement or lumber store. Then you would do a small sample board using cardboard or wood. Mix each material as directed on it's label, and put a small amount, about 6" to 12" square or so on the board or cardboard. Let them all dry for at least a few days, or as directed on their labels. Then you can do some color tests.
Do a concrete stain color test on your concrete in an out of the way place and stain the patch samples that you made. Then you can see which one will come the closest to matching the color the concrete is going to be. You can always use a brush and give them a second coat to darken them up if you need to.

Also you can help camouflage the cracks or patched cracks by using stain colors that tend to give multiple colors, like Honey Oak, Riverstone, and many others that Concrete Camouflage offers. Additionally, you can do one coat overall, then after it dries, you can spray on a second coat using the same color or a different color, holding the sprayer up higher and dropping it lower and then back higher and so forth as you go, and therefore highlighting it to help bring out more color variances.
Another way to highlight it is to simply hold the sprayer about waste to shoulder height when applying the second coat. That's how you do a tortoise shell look. You would use a light color first and hold the sprayer about a foot or so high when spraying the first coat. Then you use a darker color for the second coat and hold the sprayer higher up so it just highlights as mentioned above.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Can I use a snow shovel on stained concrete outdoors?

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Q. - Hello, I live in Wisconsin and we get quite a bit of snow. I was wondering, is it ok to shovel snow if I have stain my concrete?
Thanks, Greg.
Hello Greg,
A. - Concrete will scratch just as easily as a wood floor will. Therefore, when you know you're going to need to shovel snow, there are two points to keep in mind and you should be ok.
You should purchase a hard plastic snow shovel. The metal shovels will scratch concrete much easier than a hard plastic shovel.
You may want to seal the concrete with at least a couple and maybe even three coats of a good concrete sealer. This will act as a barrier which will help protect the concrete's surface from scratching as easily. Remember though, sealed concrete is usually more slippery than unsealed concrete. When using Clear Shield solvent base sealer, or any solvent base sealer for that matter, you should use a traction additive such as Clear Grip by Concrete Camouflage. If you use Clear Shield Advanced water base sealer, you can forego the traction additive if you choose, as it is typically less slippery than solvent based sealers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Will Concrete Stain Work On Cinder Block Walls?

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Q. - Hi, Would the artist grade concrete stain work on an exterior 25 year old unpainted cinderblock wall?
Thanks. -JB

Hello Joe,

A. - Yes, the artist grade concrete stain will work great on cinder blocks. Concrete Camouflage has several customers around the country that has used it on cinder blocks, for both walls and house foundations. Actually many people are staining their walls and house foundation sides, both cinder block and concrete. We tested the stain on cinder blocks several years ago and it worked very well.
A few points though. Cinder block is extremely porous and so it will take more stain. Your coverage will likely be around 200 square feet max per gallon of artist grade stain. You will still spray it on but you will need to have a brush handy to brush behind the sprayer thereby removing any runs that you may get, as you go. Brush in a circular motion. Also, you will still want to wash it down with a hose after it has dried, but I wouldn't recommend sealing it unless you just want to seal off the blocks themselves. Otherwise the natural flat look may look better. However, if you do decide to seal it, then you could use the new advanced formula sealer, Clear Shield Advanced which has a satin finish, and would make the wall look like it will when it is damp after you've washed it down and it is drying from the washing.